Rhodesia - Intaf

Callsign - Lighthouse

Rhodesian Slang

As with most armed forces a unique language develops from the humour and background of the men in uniform.  It is used by everybody and becomes a part of day to day speech.  The following list of sayings is included to give a representation.  Some odd expressions may have crept onto this website and the reader will be able to understand the meaning from the list.  As a result of the fact that several South Africans were recruited into the RLI some Afrikaans words were borrowed and were used on a daily basis by people who had no knowledge of Afrikaans at all.  Hence, most sentences ended with the words "Ek se", meaning "I say".




Agitate the gravel - Lets go. Leave the place.

Avo - Avocado pear.

Ag shame - expression of sympathy.

APA - African Purchase Area. Farmland owned and worked by Africans. Whites were prohibited from farming in the APAs.

Bowl us the ages ek se - What is the time?

Bundu / gangen - the bush, the countryside.

Bi 'scope - cinema.

Babalas - a hangover, state of inebriation.

Blerrie – derivative of 'bloody'.

Bobojan - monkey.

Brookies – panties/knickers.

Charity glide to society - Free lift to town.

Chune - To tell somebody something.

Chibuli / Shumba - beer.

Civvie sitrep - News on the commercial radio.

Connection - Friend.

Culling - Killing terrs.

Chibulie - Castle or Lion lager

Chick – girlfriend

China - friend (from the Cockney 'china plate' = mate)

Check you – see you (goodbye)

Chune – tell, inform.

Donga - A ditch (from Afrikaans).

Flat dog - Crocodile.

Few - Little / small.

Frantan – Napalm (literally ‘Frangible Tank’).

Freds – Frelimo.

Fundi – Expert – (Shona).

Gat - Rifle.

Gomos – Hills

Gook - Terrorist (from the Vietnam War era)

Goose / bird / chick / mfasi / gwarra - Girl / girlfriend.

Gunge - Horrible / dirty / bad.

Gangeni - The bush.

Graze / chow / nosh / grub - Food.

Hanna hanna - Fuss / problem.

Hondo – War, conflict (Shona)

Is it? - Comment made when replying to any statement made in a conversation.

Jawl (from the Afrikaans (jol) - Play / have a good time.

Jesse - thick thorn scrub

Jive / jet / split - Leave / go.

Katunda / kit - Personal equipment.

Kife - steal something.

Kopjie - Hill (from Afrikaans)

Kraal – African Village

Lemon - Nothing there. Normally used to describe an operation or patrol which produced nothing.

Long - Many / much / a lot.

MMWC - The leader / person in charge. (Main man what counts).

Mellows - Music.

Mielie – Maize cobs

Mujiba – Young insurgent supporter, their ‘eyes and ears’(Shona)

Muti - Medicine of any description.

Mushi / cool / beauts / heavy - Really nice / good.

Mushi sterek - Really nice / good.

Ouen - Fellow / bloke / chap.

PK – piccanini kia aka the toilet.

Put your slayer onto sing - Put your LMG/rifle on automatic.

Pulled a fade - Failed to do something / did not arrive at an appointed destination.

Slot - To kill (He slotted a terr).

Smaak - Like something (from the Afrikaans word).

Start/shekels/bucks - Money.

Snyd - Cheated.

Shame – a sympathetic word used at the end of a sentence – “His tick taxi died”  “Ag shame”.

Scheme- Think.

Sitrep – Situation Report

Sunray – Code for commander

Tadza  - Mistake

Terr – Terrorist

Throw some sky into my rounds - Put air in the tyres of a vehicle.

Tick taxi - dog

TTL – Trial Trust Land

Vlei – Open grassland (Afrikaans)

UDI – Unilateral Declaration of Independence, declared by Rhodesia on 11th November 1965

Work us a glide - Give me a lift.

Yellow bird - The sun




Don’t cut me rough ek se my china.  I’ll file you smooth.

I’ll moer you so hard and so swift you will think you are surrounded.

As confused as a chameleon inside a Smartie box.

That gwarra is so hot that if you push an egg up its nought it will come out cooked.

Don’t chune me ek se.  I’ll  gooi my digit in your orb and dial you back to nought.

I’ll shove my fist down your throat and panel beat your heart.

Smaak we anchor till the light chunes in our favour.

I’ll smack your teeth so far down your throat they will march out your arlie in single file.

Don’t chune me grief.  I’ll kick you so hard that when you come back your clothes will be out of fashion.